More social scientists stepping forward to defend Regnerus study

Good news! See the part in bold below, too.


An influential group of social scientists … have issued a public statement defending Mark Regnerus’s controversial study on same-sex parenting.

Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, published a paper in the July issue of Social Science Research that examined “how different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships?” His findings, based on his New Family Structures Study, indicated that young-adult children of parents who have had same-sex relationships are more likely to experience emotional and social problems.

His Slate article published in June drew more than 450 comments and set off a chorus of criticism.

In response, a group of 18 professors — including Michael EmersonChristian SmithRodney StarkW. Bradford Wilcox, and Bradley Wright — posted a defense on the website of Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. They argue that rather then Regnerus’ study being “anti-gay,” “breathtakingly sloppy,” and “gets everything wrong” (as many media outlets have alleged), such public criticism is unwarranted for three reasons:

  1. Media outlets have not properly critiqued the “small, nonrepresentative samples” used by previous studies that showed equal or more positive outcomes for children of same-sex parents vs. heterosexual parents. “By contrast, Regnerus relies on a large, random, and representative sample of more than 200 children raised by parents who have had same-sex relationships, comparing them to a random sample of more than 2,000 children raised in heterosexual families, to reach his conclusions,” they wrote.
  2. Those critical of Regnerus surveying children from same-sex relationships with high levels of instability “fail to appreciate … that Regnerus chose his categories on the basis of young adults’ characterizations of their own families growing up, and the young adults whose parents had same-sex romantic relationships also happened to have high levels of instability in their families of origin.”
  3. Another new study (published this month in the Journal of Marriage and Family) — also based on a large, nationally representative, and random survey — comes to conclusions that parallel those of Regnerus’s study.

So that new study something to look forward to! I blogged about the criticisms of the Regnerus study and the other study that came out of the same time, in case anyone wants to double-check the details.

6 thoughts on “More social scientists stepping forward to defend Regnerus study”

  1. I think it’s great that they are supporting Regenerus. I do wish that they hadn’t included the following line in their statement:

    “Indeed, it is possible to interpret Regnerus’s findings as evidence for the need for legalized gay marriage, in order to support the social stability of such relationships.”

    I also found Regenerus’s comments on his study. They were interesting to read.

    It seems that Regenerus is at a point where he can afford the controversy (somewhat – perhaps not the level of hate he is getting now):

    “Q: Why did you undertake the study about adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships?

    A: Two reasons. First, because I thought I could pull together a diverse group of people to figure out how best to test the “no differences” hypothesis. And second, because it’s an interesting research question, and I don’t mind navigating controversy a bit. I’m at a point in my career where I’m less concerned about making my professional peers happy and more about studying interesting things. In particular, the “no differences” hypothesis seemed quirky to me. I wondered if it was really true.”


    1. I think if the assertion were true that giving gays marriage would make them more stable, then we should be able to see it in countries that give cohabitating couples the same benefits as marriage. But that’s not what is observed.


      1. Yes, that was my thought too. Giving gays marriage will just lead to even faster breakdowns in marriage. If the relationships break down faster than heterosexual relationships, then just slapping the marriage tag on isn’t going to change that. My prediction: in a few years, sociologists will examine the gay couples who got married in the US and find that their relationships ended in a higher and faster rate of divorce than those of heterosexual couples.


        1. That would not surprise me either!
          When they say they want marriage what they really mean is that they want weddings, with all the frills and the flowers and the display. Then goodbye six months later.


  2. Interesting conclusion to their comments:

    “Indeed, it is possible to interpret Regnerus’s findings as evidence for the need for legalized gay marriage, in order to support the social stability of such relationships. As social scientists, our hope is that more such studies will be forthcoming shortly, and that future journalistic coverage of such studies, and this contentious topic, will be more civil, thorough, and thoughtful than has been the coverage of the new study by Professor Mark Regnerus.”


  3. There is a growing need for organized resistant to homosexual bullying. This should start with a web-page to collect evidence and get the ball rolling, Then it should grow into a campaign for a change in the law.
    What we now have is biassed laws, that classify anything homos don’t like as “hate-speech” but enable them to conduct campaigns of relentless bullying against heterosexuals. Many good people are even losing their jobs because of this new McCarthyism.
    We need democratic freedom of speech back.


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